Women’s Indigenous All Stars player Samartha Leisha joined a host of Harvey Norman Women in League round supporters today, including the round’s founder and Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg, to officially launch the 11th year of the round (Round 20).
The Toowoomba Fillies story is at the centre of the NRL’s latest ‘Power For Change’ campaign released as part of the round and showcases the perseverance and commitment undertaken by Leisha to follow her dreams from a young age to play rugby league.
“My Dad played rugby league, but I never got to see him play because he passed away when I was two,” Leisha recalled as part of her story.
“The inspiration behind me wanting to play rugby league is that I want his legacy to live on within me and within my children as well.
“I share the passion for the game that he shared and it gives me a lot of confidence just knowing that rugby league runs in the family.
“To me, rugby league is great for women and women are great for rugby league.”
Samartha Leisha and her family. Photo: NRL Photos
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg paid tribute to Samartha’s story and said he had no doubt that many would be inspired by her.
“Our game is better for the inclusion and support of women like Samartha playing and participating in the game they love,” Mr Greenberg said.
“Female participation continues to be the fastest growing area of our game and we are determined to forge greater opportunities for women on and off the field.
“This includes the recent announcement of increased pathways programs from age six through to open level, ensuring that we not only have the quality of female players coming through the ranks, but also the quantity to sustain and strengthen all levels of the game.”
This year’s Women In League round will include a total of nine matches, including the Women’s Interstate Challenge between New South Wales and Queensland to take place at WIN Stadium as part of a double-header prior to the Dragons taking on the Sea Eagles.
Tickets are available for the Interstate Challenge and all matches at www.nrl.com/tickets with a host of celebrations planned at games across the round.
Fans are encouraged to show their support for the round by using the social hashtag #WomenInLeague